Documentary The Best Documentaries Without Narration  

Ranker Film
88 votes 9 voters 36 items

List Rules Only documentaries without narration. No voiceovers allowed.

If you are looking for visually stunning documentaries that leave words by the wayside then this is the list for you. Several of the films on this list are non-verbal documentaries while others capture the voices of their subjects but they are all without voiceover narration. This allows for the view to be submerged into the visuals and sounds of the film without verbal influence. Not all of these are non-verbal documentaries as some feature people that speak on camera but there is no voiceless narrator.

Observational documentary films such as the Qatsi trilogy by Godfrey Reggio have also been referred to as tone poems or visual essays. The juxtaposition of imagery is obviously meant to evoke emotion but what emotion specifically is entirely up to the viewer. Vote up the documentary films that you love experiencing and vote down the visual docs that left you wanting more. 

1
4 0
Koyaanisqatsi is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Godfrey Reggio
Koyaanisqatsi, also known as Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, is a 1982 film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music composed by Philip Glass and cinematography by Ron Fricke. The film consists ...more
2
4 1
Baraka is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Ron Fricke
Baraka is a 1992 non-narrative documentary film directed by Ron Fricke. The film is often compared to Koyaanisqatsi, the first of the Qatsi films by Godfrey Reggio for which Fricke was ...more
3
4 1
Man with a Movie Camera is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Dziga Vertov
Man with a Movie Camera is an experimental 1929 silent documentary film, with no story and no actors, by Soviet director Dziga Vertov, edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova. Vertov's feature ...more
4
4 1
Totality is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Billy Mallery
Totality is a 1999 American documentary film directed by Billy Mallery. A unique look at total eclipses, capturing the experience within the scenery of a wide range of settings around the ...more
5
4 2
Samsara is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Ron Fricke
Samsara is a 2011 non-narrative documentary film, directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Magidson, who also collaborated on Baraka, a film of a similar vein. Samsara was filmed over five ...more
6
3 1
Powaqqatsi is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Godfrey Reggio
Powaqqatsi, or Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation, is the 1988 sequel to the experimental 1982 film, Koyaanisqatsi, by Godfrey Reggio. It is the second film in the Qatsi trilogy. Powaqqatsi is a ...more
7
2 0
Atlantis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Luc Besson
Atlantis is a 1991 documentary film about oceans, filmed over a two-year period by Luc Besson.
8
2 0
Ballet Mécanique is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Dudley Murphy, Fernand Léger
Ballet Mécanique is a Dadaist post-Cubist art film conceived, written, and co-directed by the artist Fernand Léger in collaboration with the filmmaker Dudley Murphy. It has a ...more
9
2 0
Chronos is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Ron Fricke
Chronos is a 1985 abstract film directed by Ron Fricke, created with custom-built time-lapse cameras. Originally released in IMAX theaters, it is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, HD DVD, and for ...more
10
3 2
Visitors is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Visitors Godfrey Reggio
Visitors is a 2013 American documentary film, written and directed by Godfrey Reggio, exploring "humanity's trancelike relationship with technology." It was screened in the Special ...more
11
3 2
Anima Mundi is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Anima Mundi Godfrey Reggio

Anima Mundi is a 1992 short documentary film directed by Godfrey Reggio.

12
3 2
Landscapes at the World's Ends is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Richard Sidey
Landscapes at the World's Ends is a 2010 New Zealand documentary film directed by Richard Sidey. A non-verbal visual journey to the polar regions of our planet portrayed through a triptych ...more
13
2 1
Heild is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Petur Kristjan Gudmundsson
Heild is a 2014 Icelandic documentary film directed by Petur Kristjan Gudmundsson. Iceland's first non-narrative full-feature film's focus is set on presenting Iceland in a way it has never been ...more
14
1 0
Bestiaire is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Denis Côté
Bestiaire is a 2012 Canadian-French avant-garde nature documentary film directed by Denis Côté. The film centers on how humans and animals observe each other. It has received mostly ...more
15
1 0
13 Lakes is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
13 Lakes James Benning
13 Lakes is a 2004 documentary film written and directed by James Benning.
16
1 0
Ruhr is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Ruhr James Benning
Ruhr is a 2009 experimental, documentary film written and directed by James Benning.
17
1 0
Fascinating Nature is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Gogol Lobmayr
Fascinating Nature is a 1996 German-American documentary film directed by Gogol Lobmayr.
18
1 0
Apollo 11 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Todd Douglas Miller
Apollo 11 is a 2019 American documentary film edited, produced, and directed by Todd Douglas Miller. It focuses on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, the first spaceflight to land people on the moon.
19
2 2
Laya Project is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Laya Project Harold Monfils
Laya Project is a 2007 American documentary film directed by Harold Monfils. It is a world music documentary produced by EarthSync, a world music audio-visual production company based in South ...more
20
2 2
Berlin: Symphony of a Great Ci... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Walter Ruttmann
Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis is a 1927 German film directed by Walter Ruttmann, co-written by Carl Mayer and Karl Freund. The film is an example of the city symphony film genre. A musical ...more
21
1 1
Coral Sea Dreaming is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Coral Sea Dreaming David Hannan
Coral Sea Dreaming is a documentary film directed by David Hannan.
22
1 1
Robot World is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Martin H. Schmitt
Robot World is a 2010 German documentary film directed by Martin H. Schmitt. The non-verbal documentary Robot World depicts the evolution of robots from a mechanical somnambulist to an ...more
23
1 1
Epic Java is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Epic Java Febian Murrahman Saktinegara
Epic Java is a 2013 Indonesian documentary film directed by Febian Nurrahman Saktinegara.
24
0 0
Bodysong is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Bodysong Simon Pummell
Bodysong is a 2003 BAFTA winning documentary about human life and the human condition directed by Simon Pummell and produced by Janine Marmot.
25
0 0
Dogora: Ouvrons les yeux is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Documentaries Without Narration
Dogora: Ouvrons les yeux Patrice Leconte
Dogora: Ouvrons les yeux is a 2004 film directed by Patrice Leconte which has been compared in its conception with the likes of the Qatsi trilogy.